Gout is often referred to as the “rich man’s disease” because one of the main causes is consuming foods rich in purines – red meat and alcohol. Over the year we have seen ample news surrounding the subject of gout, from how food plays a role, to treatment options, classification and how it can affect other aspects of your health.
Here are Bel Marra Health’s top five news stories that discuss new gout information.
Gout and Diet: Gout risk higher with purine-rich foods in diet raising uric acid levels
Key studies show risk of gout and gout recurrence with purine-rich foods.
One study examined new cases of gout among 47,150 men with no prior history of the condition. The men were followed for 12 years. A questionnaire was used to determine if the men fit the criteria of gout, based on the American College of Rheumatology survey. Every four years diet was assessed with a food-frequency questionnaire.
The end results of the study revealed 730 of the men developed gout. The highest risk factors for the development of gout were meat and seafood consumption. Low risk was found in those who consumed dairy products. Although purine-rich foods increase the risk of gout, no increased risk was seen in men who consumed vegetables rich in purines.
In another study, researchers conducted a case-crossover to determine the risk of purine-rich foods as they contribute to gout. This study followed individuals who were already diagnosed with gout for one year online. Participants were asked questions about gout attacks, such as when they occurred, symptoms and signs of the attack and medications they may be on, to name a few.
Uric Acid Levels: Excess uric acid levels (hyperuricemia), risk for gout, kidney disease and early death
Excess uric acid levels can increase the risk of gout, kidney disease and early death.
High uric acid levels – known as hyperuricemia – increase the risk for gout, kidney disease and early death. Uric acid is the product of the breaking down of purines. Purines are found in many of the foods we consume daily like red meat and even alcohol. When purines are broken down and turned into uric acid they travel through the bloodstream into the kidneys where they are expelled through urination. When there is an excess amount of uric acid that remains in the body, it can build-up in other parts of the body – most commonly around the joints of the big toe, where gout can be found.
An excess of uric acid is due to two factors: 1) your body produces an excess amount on its own through the digestive process, or 2) your kidneys are unable to filter uric acid out of the body. Both scenarios lead to hyperuricemia. Learn More
Gout and Heart Disease: Gout with tophi (uric acid crystal deposits) can increase heart disease risk
The presence of tophi in people with gout can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. An earlier study links gout to heart attack and stroke.
Researchers at the University Rheumatology Clinic in Sofia, Bulgaria, knew that there had been few studies on cardiovascular disease and gout. Since arthritis has been linked to inflammation and so has cardiovascular disease, it made sense to them to examine the two together. More than 50 percent of deaths around the world are due to cardiovascular disease and chronic inflammation is a proven risk factor.
The researchers took 170 participants and divided them up into four groups. The first group contained men and women with osteoarthritis but no history of gout, while the other three groups were people in various stages of developing or having gout. It is important to note that the fourth group of participants had gout with tophi. At the end of the study period the results showed the presence of tophi in gout increased the risk of cardiovascular disease. Following the study, lead doctor, Rada Gancheva, said, “These data suggest that the presence of tophi may confer an independent risk for cardiovascular disease that is commensurable and even greater than that for hypertension.” Learn More
Gout and Erectile Dysfunction: Is gout the cause of erectile dysfunction (ED)?
Study shows that gout can increase the risk of erectile dysfunction (ED).
Have your bedroom sessions been a little lackluster as you age? And no, we’re not talking about your ability to sleep. We’re referring to your ability to still get hot and heavy with your spouse or partner.
Sex, at any age, is not only beneficial for relationships but it can offer many health benefits. So just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you have to slow down. This, of course, is if you don’t have erectile dysfunction (ED). Learn More
Gout Classification: New and improved classification system for gout developed by experts
Experts have developed a new classification system for gout.
Gout is a common inflammatory arthritis, and researchers have now developed a new form of classification system which will standardize the classifications of gout. The new classification system comes from researchers at Boston University Medical Center and from global institutions.
The classification system was developed using a multi-step process. This multi-step process consisted of reviewing literature on advanced imaging for gout, conducting a study where the standard to identify gout was the presence of monosodium urate crystals, and using a decision analysis scientific approach to come up with a complete criteria around numerous domains to guide the classification of gout.
The new classification system is easy to follow and is comprised of clinical, laboratory and imaging parameters. A key component of the new classification system is negative scoring for the removal of certain criteria. Learn More
With 2015 coming to a close, we hope that more information will arise in 2016 about gout, so we can have better understanding of the condition and more treatment options. Although gout can be painful, the research that has been done over the past year can help us prevent it from occurring or at least help us better manage it.